Did you know it’s National Singles Week? No? Well, I get press releases about things like that, otherwise I’d have no idea either. I’m not sure how one celebrates Singles Week. I do know that when I’m jolted out of a dead sleep by one of my boyfriend’s ear-splitting dream-farts, I can certainly see the upside to going it solo.
The press release got me thinking about being single and the stigma attached to it. Especially for women. I remember the people in my life who, if I’d told them I’d found a cure for cancer, ran a double marathon, then came home and wrote a bestseller, would reply with “But have you met anyone special yet?” And they’d wear the pity pout that every woman who’s ever been single for more than a couple hours knows so well.
I loathed the Bridget Jones books, but the one thing Helen Fielding nailed was the concept of “smug marrieds.” My friend Estelle (fake name!) is the epitome of a smug married. Serially involved (with much overlapping!) her entire adult life, Estelle is now happily married with kids and can’t even fathom another way of life. One night, during a very bleak and lonely period, she called to tell me that she and her perfect fucking husband had been discussing me, wondering what it was about me that made me unlovable. I had no answers for her. I’d like to say that I told her to piss off, but the truth is I think I cried.
Well-meaning paired-up friends were always spewing crap like that. “I just don’t understand why you’re single—you’re just so greeeaaaat,” they’d assure me. And you know that when someone draws out a word that long, it’s because they secretly think you’re quite the opposite. “You’re the type of girl that a guy just needs to get to know first,” another told me. Translation: You’re ugly, but you’ve got a great personality! Thanks!
Or my all-time favorite: “Why are you single?” Hmmm. Do you want the long answer or the short answer? Most likely it’ll end with me in tears, but that’s OK. Because you must be looking for some kind of horrible reaction, otherwise why would you ask such a stupid question? Why am I single? Why are you an idiot?
Part of me still identifies as single, which sounds ridiculous as I live with a Large Greek Man in a small one-bedroom apartment and we occasionally have sex (though not as often as I’d like). But everyone around me is getting married this year, and while the big guy and I have discussed it, the fact is I can’t be bothered. I have more important things to spend my money on (like decrepit teeth) than a poufy dress and a big party for my friends.
And so even though I have a boyfriend, that’s still not enough for some people. “When are you going to get married?” they inquire. I’ve actually received the pity pout over this too. No doubt they’re thinking that the Big Guy is getting all that milk for free, so why would he ever marry the cow? Not to mention that I’m certain that if we did tie the knot, we’d then be pressured to reproduce. Lucky for me he has even less interest in babies than I do, but whose business is it?
Nobody ever asks newlyweds why they bothered to get married. Given the divorce rate in this country, isn’t that the better question? And I’m sure I’d get a punch if I asked any of my breeder buddies why the hell they decided to have kids. Yet if you don’t have a partner and/or a baby, suddenly all your life choices are suspect and your accomplishments diminished.
So instead of a party to celebrate Singles Week, I’m going to suggest that all you concerned coupled folks resist the urge to make your single friends feel like crap. And you single folk—go pick up beautiful strangers and have the kind of hot monkey sex that boring married folk only dream of.